American Cycling Association Position on USAC/UCI Rule

April 21, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Barr, President, ACA Board of Directors 303-355-9914

American Cycling Association Position on USAC/UCI enforcement of UCI Rule 1.2.019

In the last two weeks the UCI (International Cycling Union) and USAC (United States Cycling Association) have decided to enforce UCI Rule 1.2.019, which affects the ability of UCI-licensed professional riders to participate in local races. The rule regards ‘Forbidden races’, and says:

1.2.019 No (professional) license holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognized by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI.

A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.

This is not a new rule, and only recently has enforcement of this rule been made public to riders in the United States. Professional riders who break this rule are threatened with suspensions and monetary fines. The effect of this enforcement is two-fold:

1- American riders who hold UCI Pro Continental licenses may not compete in ACA (American Cycling Association), OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association), ABR (American Bicycle Racing), or CBR (California Bicycle Racing) events under threat of suspension and monetary fines. These professional racers are who live in these states cannot augment their training by participating in local racing, which is detrimental to their preparation and may impact their performance at the national and international level.

2- While the number of professional riders affected is relatively small, this decision on the part of USAC affects local racing communities by denying local riders in Colorado, Oregon, Illinois and California the benefit of racing alongside – and learning from -- world class athletes. As the level of competition drops at the local level, it becomes more difficult for America to produce international-level athletes.

The position of the American Cycling Association is as follows:

1- We find enforcement of UCI Rule 1.2.019 to be detrimental to the cycling careers of American professionals, who are now unable to prepare as effectively for national and international competition.

2- We find enforcement of UCI Rule 1.2.019 to be detrimental to the cycling communities in which these professionals reside, as removing professional riders from local races degrades the quality of local events.

3- We have appealed to USAC to exercise the Rule’s option to grant special exceptions to ACA, ABRA, CBR, and OBRA races in order to protect its professional riders and local cycling communities from the negative impacts of this UCI rule. This appeal has not been adequately addressed by USAC at this time, and the ACA continues to pursue options to remedy this situation.

4- We ask that affected professional riders, team managers, sponsors and fans contact USAC and ask that these professional athletes be allowed to race in local events in Colorado, Oregon, Illinois and California in order to best prepare for national and international competition, to improve the level of competition at the local level, and to provide the maximum commercial exposure for which their sponsors have so heavily invested.

5- We ask that ACA promoters not hide professional racers’ names or identity in either start lists or results, or in any way to allow racers to participate anonymously in our events. It is not in the best interest of the ACA, our promoters or our officials, to provide anonymous racing for any segment of the ACA membership.

The ACA is collaborating with these other independent organizations in seeking avenues that could allow UCI Continental professionals to once again race locally, as they have done for years. The ACA Board of Directors remains confident that we can work with USA Cycling to build upon the recent great successes of bicycle racing in the United States, as both USAC and the independent organizations share a common goal of encouraging and supporting racers, clubs, teams, promoters, sponsors and racing communities.

The American Cycling Association is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit sporting organization that sanctions most road and cyclocross racing in Colorado and southeast Wyoming. The mission of the ACA is to expand and develop the sport of amateur bicycle racing in the Rocky Mountain region while ensuring quality experiences for all involved. The ACA has more than 3,000 members and sanctions more than 100 events each year.

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Revenues vs expenses

Revenues from licenses and race entry charges would go down, but it's disingenuous to imply that those are the only revenue streams ACA has. Sure, those revenues would go down by roughly 2/3rds, but proceeds from CCTT, BCLTT, sponsorships, and any other non-license or race fee source would not change. Then you would also have to address which expenses that ACA currently incurs would perhaps go down if various responsibilities now shouldered by ACA were to shift to USAC.

It's not as simple as "we'd lose 2/3rds of our money".

Tarkington's Forum

Back when Jon Tarkington had the forum this was discussed to death for at least 1 year sometime around 2005ish about ACA/USA Cycling reunification and the UCI rule about pro's racing in non-sanctioned events. Now that was entertaining reading at the time. The issue of pro's being able to ride in non-sanctioned races was brought up again in 2006 when Tyler Hamilton raced at a Stazio race and the UCI saw photo's in believe there was some major grovelling on USA Cycling's part to allow our pro's to race in non-sanctioned events but I don't think the UCI rule book was ever changed.

The ACA and USA Cycling have had many years to figure out a way ahead with regards to the UCI issue. I don't know if the ACA has always assumed the "reciprocity agreement" was good enough to not pay attention to it. But with USA Cycling basically telling the UCI to screw off about the radio issue this year it's no surprise to me that the UCI would start playing hardball with the Feds over this issue again. Let's not forget the UCI rolling in on the cross guys this year as well. Probably not helping is that Tyler has gone on TV and accused the UCI of covering up Lance's alleged transgressions. I doubt the UCI is really pleased with U.S. riders and USA Cycling at this point and is probably looking for payback.

Regardless of the UCI motives, incompetency on behalf of USA Cycling and lack of foresight by the ACA have led Colorado cycling down this merry little path.